Teachers find it ‘difficult to cope’
Warning to councillors over education cuts
Concerns have been raised that teachers are struggling to cope with demands in classrooms.
The worries were aired during the children, young people and lifelong learning committee as the service is due to burst its budget by more than £800,000.
Acting education director Gillian Brydson said monthly meetings are being held with finance officers and an action plan is being drawn up to “bring those budgets back under control”.
However Julie Irving, the primary teacher representative for the committee, has warned of the consequences of further savings.
She said: “We’ve already been faced with lots of cuts across primary and secondary schools.
“Staff are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the demands in classrooms due to support staff having been cut. We’ve got more and more children with complex needs in classrooms without appropriate support.
“Staff are doing their very, very best but I have to hold my hands up and say we are struggling as a profession.
“I appreciate cuts are coming from Westminster and it’s not a Dumfries and Galloway agenda but I’ve got real concerns exclusion rates are going to begin to increase again simply because we can’t cope with the demands in the classroom.
“My plea is can you look really, really carefully to somehow find a way to support us with this because everyone is needing it.”
When the committee last met in September, it had been told the overspend was likely to be around £452,000 but officials had found ways to tackle the problem so a breakeven prediction was expected.
However, in his report corporate accountancy boss Colin Pentland revealed that “pressures have continued to increase” with the overspend now predicted to be £841,000. Placements for children and additional costs for Dalbeattie Learning Campus have played their part in the overspend.
Councillor Richard Brodie said: “Budgets seem to be under extreme pressure here. Years and years of cuts are really hitting home now.
“This doesn’t bode well for the upcoming budget setting process. I think we’ve got to be putting pressure on the Scottish Government
to support education services across the country and focus less on their own initiatives at national level because we’re not delivering the basics here.”
Committee chairman Jeff Leaver said: “COSLA’s position is local government need to be funded fairly and they’re lobbying the Scottish Government very hard to make sure we do get a substantial increase in the budget to tackle the problems identified after years of cuts.”
Budget isues Acting education director Gillian Brydson and Councillor Jeff Leaver